The Home Selling Process for Beginners

Selling your home may be a big task, and choosing to sell your home yourself is definitely a daunting decision. But with some key information and basic knowledge of the process, you can set yourself up for success and a great experience. Here are some points to focus on as you prepare to list your home and represent yourself.

The personal side

Two months before listing, there are a few tasks you should complete. These include:

  • Evaluating your finances and budget
  • Add up transaction costs and remaining equity
  • Collect all key documentation, including title, survey, mortgage, and insurance

You should also consider the following questions to help you plan the next stages of your home sale:

  • Just how urgent is your need to sell your home?
  • Is a career or other change prompting this relocation?
  • Is your move tied to a school year, medical concerns, or other financial pressures?

All of these points tie in to determining your listing price. The more urgent your need to sell fast, the lower you will want to set the price to get hits early. However, if you have time to spare, you can wait for an ideal offer and price your home a little higher. But no matter your personal wishes for your listing price, you will still want to price competitively with current trends for your neighborhood.

The physical side

Two months before listing your home, you should:

  • Evaluate the condition of your property
  • Fix obvious problems
  • Begin thinking about upgrades to improve equity

Especially if you want to sell quickly, your home needs to be move-in or nearly move-in ready. Try to set aside your personal likes and dislikes, and view your home with a critical buyers’ eye. You may also want to get an outspoken friend to come over and give you an honest opinion. There are three types of problems you should be looking for:

Cosmetic problems

These can usually be fixed or neutralized at minimal cost. Grimy walls can be scrubbed down and painted. Torn carpet can (and should) be replaced, but sometimes it’s even better to remove all the carpet to the underlying hardwood and refinish it for more equity. Torn window screens and crooked lighting fixtures must all be fixed.

Functional repairs and upgrades

Ruthlessly examine the condition of your appliances, plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, roof, and other structural elements of your home. By repairing or replacing these potential negatives, you take away that reason for a buyer to reject your home. Your house will also appeal to cash-strapped buyers who worry about potential surprise costs right after they move in.

Problems you can’t fix

The location of your home is something you can’t change, and the same can be said for your neighbors, school district, noise and traffic, and many other factors. While you can’t fix these, you can take these factors into account when pricing your home, to make it that much more appealing to potential buyers. There are some things you have to report to buyers, like seepage in the basement—that’s state law, for the most part. But you can also get a home warranty, which will provide peace of mind to home buyers, as this will cover the cost of repair or replacement for some major home systems.

This covers much of the early preparation work needed to sell your home yourself, however there’s still a bit more to discuss. Check in April for the continuation of this blog post!

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